Posted by: cousinbrandon | April 1, 2009

LOST – Season 5, Episode 11: “Whatever Happened, Happened”

Um, are we really 11 episodes into Season 5 already?  Hard to believe, seeing as how we know that the next (and final) season is right around the corner.  What’s a guy to do at that point?  I mean, once this little merry-go-round called LOST reaches its endpoint, just what in the heck will I do with my Wednesday evenings/Thursday mornings?  On that note, if any of you have suggestions for a show I could transition to post-LOST, by all means let me know.  I’m certainly big on programs like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but they don’t offer the same mythology/speculation as this one.  What’s more, I feel like shows have tried to emerge and join the LOST-y pantheon, a la Life On Mars (cancelled).  Nothing, though, is remotely close in my book.  Who knows?  Maybe I need to take a different approach altogether and just write down the best lines from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I mean, even I need a break from the “serious” sometimes.  However, that time has not yet arrives, so on that note…

1. The Rescue.  Well, sort of.  We open to the sound of Phil on the walkie talkie, who wakes Jin from his temporary, post-Sayid butt-whooping state of unconscious.  Jin spots mini-Ben keeled over, but quickly realizes he isn’t dead.  Jin loads mini-Ben into his Dharma van and the two take off.  Well, I guess that confirms what I already knew:  Ben’s alive!  I’d say “shocking,” but c’mon.  As I pointed out last week, there’s no way Ben was dead.  We cut to Horace, who is debriefing the DI and warning them of possible hostile attacks.  And in the midst of the post-flaming VW bus clean-up, we get a little scene between Kate and Roger Linus, in which the two of them are tasked with removing the bus from the house.  Their interaction is, at the very least, strange.  It would appear Roger’s got a spark for Kate, and she seems to deem this stranger kind enough.  Granted, once he introduces himself as Roger Linus, Kate pulls a Juliet-just-found-out-she’s-holding-baby-Ethan face and recoils ever so slightly.  The budding romance is interrupted when Jin pulls into camp and carries an unconscious Ben Linus to the infirmary, who is trailed after by Roger who screams, “Hey, that’s my kid.”  And, hey, all this kid talk can only mean…

2. Kate.  In a flashback/flashforward (Seriously, what do you even call this?  I mean, it’s post-island time, but not yet caught up to 2007, and yet well before the “now” on the island, which is 1977?), we cut away to , who is driving through what appears to be a suburban neighborhood.  She pulls into the driveway and opens the back door, where we find baby Aaron having just awoken from his nap.  On her way to the front door, she sings the baby a little tune, which just so happens to be “Catch a Falling Star.”  Well, I did a little research, certain that this song and references to it had been made previously on LOST.  (And I can’t even write the words “previously on LOST” without hearing them at the start of each episode.)  Sure enough, it appeared in the following instances:

  • Claire tells the Aaron’s perspective adoptive parents that she prefer they sing “Catch a Falling Star” to him, just as her father (Christian) did for her (in “Raised By Another”);
  • The mobile hanging above the crib in the faux-nursery plays — you got it — “Catch a Falling Star” (in “Maternity Leave”); and
  • As mentioned above, Kate sings it to Aaron on the way to the front door.

So, in all three instances of hearing this song, Aaron is a primary figure.  What’s more, if you think about LOST in general, certain characters seem to have music associated with them, at least to some extent.  But moving on from the music, let’s now delve into who lives in this house, which is none other than…

3. Cassidy.  Not only has been quite some time since we’ve seen her, but Kim Dickens is the second Deadwood cast member (William Sanderson) to show up on LOST in back-to-back weeks.  Cassidy, of course, wants to know what Kate’s doing there, to which Kate replies, “Sawyer sent me.”  During their sit-down, Kate explains why Sawyer didn’t come back, and although she tries to pain his actions as heroic, Cassidy spins another picture completely, suggesting that it’s Sawyer’s way of shirking responsibility, both to Clementine and Kate.  Sawyer, after all, is a con man, so it’s hard to argue with her logic.  Cassidy wants to know if Aaron is Sawyer’s baby, to which Kate responds that she was already pregnant pre-crash.  Cassidy sees through her lie immediately, and wants to know why, after coming clean about everything else, Kate is lying about Aaron being her baby.  “Because I have to,” Kate answers.  And even though it’s one of those typical LOST-ian lines of dialogue, in which the speaker is as ambiguous as possible, thus failing to satisfy us the viewers and the person to whom he/she is speaking, I kind of bought it.  I don’t know why, but the acting was, well, good.  But enough about deadbeat dads and single-parent kids.  Let’s get back to…

4. The Cell.  Horace returns to The Flame to find Sawyer and Kate talking, and of course wonders what in the heck a “newbie” is doing there.  Our resident con man plays it off quite nicely, and Kate exits so that Horace, Sawyer and crew can check out Sayid’s cell.  In a moment of what I can only call “Um, yeah right” sloppy writing, they find the cell door ajar with the keys still in the lock.  Really?  I mean, we’ve already seen Sayid, hitman of hitmen and natural born killer, fail to put one between the eyes of mini-Ben and run off after a single shot.  Now you mean to tell me that he and mini-Ben conveniently left the keys in the cell door?  C’mon, writers.  You’re better than that.  But I’m being all nitpicky, so let’s just say that, fine, the keys were still in the lock and that’s that.  This is an immediate clue to Horace that, yep, this was an inside job, as there are only three sets of keys to the cell in the whole camp, one set belonging to Roger Linus and another belonging to the new Janitor, Jack Shepard.  Sawyer enlists Miles to put Hurley, Kate and Jack on lockdown, where we later find them so eloquently discussing…

5. Back to the Future.  “I’m looking to see if my hands disappear,” or something to that effect.  Here, again, we get a nod from the writers, responding to all of the conversations those of us at home have been kicking around the water cooler, the Internet, and anywhere else we complain about our hurting heads.  On the other hand, we have to realize that their not filming these episodes one week in advance, so what does that tell us?  It tells us, brilliantly, that the writers were expecting us to be scratching our heads at this point regarding the whole time paradox/time jumping situation.  They anticipated our confusion and want of understanding, and therefore wrote it into the script well beforehand in order to help us get it.  Again, even though there was some bit of contrivance here, it’s still a great job by the writers to acknowledge their audience and realize that, hey, we need a little bit of help from time to time.  Think of it this way:  Miles is the writing staff, Hurley is the viewing audience.  Got it?  Good.  Miles explains the old Faraday point, that we can’t change anything.  Because Ben Linus is alive in the future, mini-Ben, who is being operated on in the next building by an ill-equipped Juliet, will be fine.  The conversation will pick up later with Miles continuing to explain the notion of time theory to Hurley.  “Once Ben turned that wheel,” explained Miles, “time is no longer a straight line.”  Furthermore, he gives Hurley the option of shooting him, again in an attempt to explain that he is alive in the future, so it doesn’t matter.  Hurley, being the Einstein of the group, asks this mindboggler:  “Why doesn’t Ben remember being tortured by Sayid?”  A stunned Miles can only reply, “Huh.”  (Don’t worry; we’ll get our answer.)  In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt Juliet to have the assistance of a real surgeon, like, say…

6. Jack.  For those of you still undecided as to how you feel about Jack, let me say this:  fantastic.  I absolutely loved Jack in this episode.  Now I know others will say that they don’t like the way his character is headed, but to be fair, Jack’s been on his “path to enlightenment” for quite some time.  If you consider that he’s spent a good deal of time trying to get back to the island, attempting suicide, recruiting his pals from Oceanic 815, and essentially giving himself over to the experience as opposed to trying to control it, last night’s Jack fell right in line with this new model of consistency.  With that in tow, Jack delivered one of my favorite lines of the episode, which was a total Ben-ism.  A distraught Kate is urging Jack to help Juliet save mini-Ben, indicating that he could die if Jack doesn’t save him.  Jack’s response?  “Then he dies.”  Zing!  Kate continues to pester Jack, trying to convince him that Ben is just a boy, and that Jack can’t let him die.  Jack reiterates that they can’t change what happens.  He continues with another strong line, in saying, “I already saved Benjamin Linus and I did it for you, Kate.”  Double zing!  The implication here is that he not only saved Ben previously for Kate, but in effect saved Ben Linus for Sawyer, which he would essentially be doing again.  Now, should we go for the triple zing?  Why not.  Kate tells Jack that she doesn’t think she likes the new Jack.  “You didn’t like the old me, Kate.”  Down goes Frasier!  Down goes Frasier!  Seriously, I think the new Jack pretty much rules.  One of the initial problems with this whole sequence, though, is this:  has Kate forgotten who it is they’re trying to save?!  I mean, this is Ben Linus we’re talking about!  You’re effectively saving the life of the man who will later destroy yours.  Or is she?  Let’s suppose she buys into the notion that whatever happened, happened.  If that’s the case, perhaps she needs Ben to live in order for everything else to transpire so that Aaron might be born and she will one day serve as his pseudo-mother.  That, or she’s just so overwrought by maternal instinct that the mere thought of letting a child die is reprehensible.  And speaking of dying children…

7. The OR.  Outside the operating room, an anxious and distraught Roger Linus (yep, you read that right) is awaiting news on his kid.  Sawyer tries to comfort him and tells him he’ll get some news, but first asks Roger if he has his keys.  Roger digs into his pocket and realizes they’re gone, but obviously realizes they’re not just gone but stolen.  Roger and Kate then share a moment in which he asks, “You have kids?”  Oh, irony.  Things aren’t going so well for poor mini-Ben, despite Kate’s offer to donate blood.  Juliet realizes that she can’t save him on her own, and does her best to comfort Roger despite the dire circumstances.  And even though Jack is a total no-show, the conclusion is reached that maybe there is something “they” (the hostiles) can do to help (i.e., sneak mini-Ben out of the infirmary and into a Dharma Bus).  From there we cut to…

8. Kate Austen, Ubermom.  We find Kate and company back at the dock.  (And by the way, I like the idea of returning to one scene several times over, as it’s interesting to “watch it” from the perspective of several different characters.)  Kate loads Aaron into the car and takes him to the grocery store for some milk, only to have him change his mind and ask for a juice box.  (Man, kids are fickle.  Trust me; I know.)  While walking through the store, she gets a call from Jack, which she promptly ignores.  Kate asks a stocker where the juice boxes are, only to turn around and find Aaron missing.  In a moment of hysteria, Kate begins running through the store, frantically searching for her “son.”  (And, once again, trust me; I know this feeling, too, and it’s awful.)  Finally she locates him, walking hand-in-hand with a woman who, by no accident, looks a heck of a lot like Claire from behind.  Kate reclaims Aaron, and perhaps realizes two things:  A) the thought of losing him is terrifying; and B) she’s going to lose him.  And speaking of Mom of the Year…

9. Kate Austen, EMT.  Well, not exactly.  Kate arrives at the sonic fence, but is, of course, forced to stop, as she’d prefer not to go all haywire with one of those frequency blasts.  She stops the car and tends to mini-Ben, who tells him to apologize to his father for stealing his keys.  A second bus arrives, this time with Sawyer behind the wheel.  Sawyer promptly deactivates the fence.  When asked why he’s helping Kate, Sawyer explains that he’s “doing it for her,” which we can only assume is…

10. Clementine.  Kate once again arrives at Cassidy’s house, this time with three-year old Aaron.  Clem opens the door, and she’s a cute, bubbly little girl who recognizes Kate.  Kate spills her guts to Cassidy and explains what happens in the store.  Cassidy breaks it down to Kate, and says that Kate expects Aaron not to be there.  “Why would I expect him to be taken?” Kate asks.  “Because,” explains Cassidy, “you took him, Kate.”  Man, does Kate take a whole lot of one-liner abuse in this episode, or what?  From there we cut to total terror, in the form of…

11. Juliet.  She barges into the house where Jack and company are locked down, demanding to know where Jack is.  “Is he in trouble?” asks Hurley, in a rather funny moment.  Juliet barges into the bathroom, and demands to know how Jack could ignore his oath as a doctor.  Furthermore, she expresses her rage at Jack’s choice to return to the island, telling him, “We didn’t need saving.  You came back here for yourself.”  Jack, in what can only be described as a Locke-ian moment, tells Juliet that he “came back because he was supposed to.”  Now, this “change” on Jack’s part, in which he is now almost inhabiting Locke’s sensibility, is interesting on a couple levels.  First, and quite obviously, the move from Man of Science to Man of Faith seemed like an inevitable one.  Clearly Jack has been moving toward the magical/spiritual for quite some time, which again has been documented in his decision making since leaving the island, his planning in returning to the island, and his choice to “step back and let things happen” since returning to the island.  Second, any time any character talks about what they’re “supposed” to be doing, we can not hear this without thinking of Locke, who was the biggest proponent of what the Island wants and what they were all destined to do/become.  Is Jack, then, channeling Locke?  That is, is Jack acting as the embodiment of Locke on the island as a way to somehow course correct, since Locke isn’t in the current “then”?  I mean, what if it’s not just the universe that has a way of course correcting, but the Island, too, in that it’s trying to “get things right,” so to speak, and needs the assistance of the Losties in order to do so?  I know this is convoluted, and is actually making my head hurt, too, so let’s get back to…

12. Kate Austen, Hero?  Well, maybe “hero” is a bit much, but we find Kate knocking on the hotel door of Claire’s mother.  She invites Kate in, and Kate explains that not only is Aaron her granddaughter, but that Claire is still alive.  She proceeds to explain what happened, and that they lied about there being no other survivors.  (Frankly, I thought Claire’s mother swallowed this story a bit too easily.  I mean, to this point she’s believed that A) her daughter was dead; and B) Aaron who?  So to suddenly accept this information as gospel was a bit, well, unconvincing.)  But perhaps the highlight of the scene was Kate explaining why she intends to return to the island.  It’s not, as many of us feared (but hoped otherwise), to rekindle her love affair with Sawyer; rather, it’s to find Claire.  So, why call Kate a hero?  Because in the span of one scene, she not only came clean to Claire’s mother and subsequently left Aaron in her care (in a rather emotional scene, I might add), but announced that she was returning not for selfish reasons, but to find Aaron’s mother.  Wow!  So Kate says her sad goodbyes to Aaron and leaves the hotel, and she will soon enough end up on the bed of one Jack Shepard.  And from there, we get to the penultimate sequence, which involves…

13. The Hostiles.  Sawyer, Kate and mini-Ben are “captured” by the Hostiles while walking through enemy territory.  Sawyer demands they take them to Richard Alpert.  Alpert, of course, knows Sawyer at this point based on their previous meeting, yet Sawyer is amazed to discover that Richard recognizes Ben.  Sawyer asks Richard for help, and while Richard agrees, he first explains that Ben’s “innocence will be gone.  He will always be one of us.”  (Interesting, by the way, in that I love the reoccurrence of the words “one of us,” which was not only an episode title way back in Season 3, but an episode in which Juliet saved Claire’s life, thus mirroring A) Juliet trying to save Ben’s life; and B) associations to Claire and Aaron.)  Richard explains that Ben will forget everything.  (So, folks, here is the rather lame explanation as to why Ben doesn’t remember being tortured by Sayid:  once he was given over to the Hostiles, his memory was erased, and his innocence was lost.  Hmmmm.  I mean, it’s interesting metaphorically, particularly if we look at it from a Christian perspective, namely the Fall.  Still, it’s a bit too easy for my taste, and I can only hope that there’s further explanation to come.)  One of the Hostiles chimes in that they shouldn’t be doing this without first consulting Ellie and Charles.  Nice.  Alpert, all piss and vinegar, replies, “I don’t answer to either of them.”  I not only see this statement as a personification of his defiance, but in the literal sense that Richard does not, in fact, follow their orders, as his orders come from someone else.  (Locke?  Jacob?  Jack-ob?)  Alpert carries mini-Ben away in his arms, as the two of them back up into — yes! — the Temple.  Which leads to our final scene of the night…

14. Ben and Locke.  A still-groggy Ben wakes up in the infirmary, where he was as a result of the boat oar he took to the head thanks to Sun.  But who should Ben awake to?  Why, it’s the man he strangled to death, John Locke.  And what, pray tell, does Locke tell a startled Ben?  In one of the show’s best and most ironic lines ever, “Welcome back to the land of the living.”  Awesome.  What else is there to say?  I mean, any time a dead man welcomes you to the land of the living, well, let’s just pray you’re wearing adult diapers.  On a final note…

15. Fate.  Perhaps the most brilliant, and perhaps understated element of last night’s episode, dealt with decisions, or the lack thereof.  Consider, for a moment, two things:  A) In last week’s episode, Sayid shot Ben; and B) In tonight’s episode, Jack opted not to help Ben.  Here’s the great irony:  had Sayid not shot mini-Ben, he wouldn’t have required medical attention.  And if Jack decided to operate on mini-Ben, there would have been no need to turn him over to the Hostiles.  So in an attempt to effectively change the future — once by killing mini-Ben, and once by choosing not to save his life — Sayid and Jack are inadvertently responsible for causing Ben to turn rogue.  Is this, then, course correction, or is this merely fate?  Is the universe making sure things unfold the way they’re supposed to, or were Jack and Sayid always fated to “play their parts,” so to speak?  

While this may not have been my favorite episode of the season, which should come as no surprise since it was a Kate-focused episode and, really, not much forward action transpired, I still dug it for a rather strange reason:  I thought Kate was pretty good, actually.  I mean, she sort of redeemed herself as being nothing more than irritating, and has now justified not only what she’s doing back on the island, but how deeply she cares for Aaron, which was kind of nice.

Until next time, have at it, you vultures!

BD

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